You can pass gene changes to your children. Sometimes a gene change can cause health conditions, like cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease. A gene change also can cause birth defects, like heart defects. These are called single gene disorders, and they run in families.
Top 5 Genetic Birth Defects Named
- Heart defects: More than a million births worldwide yearly.
- Neural tube defects (including spina bifida): Nearly 324,000 births worldwide yearly.
- Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia): More than 307,000 births worldwide yearly.
- Down syndrome: More than 217,000 births worldwide yearly.
- G6PD deficiency (enzyme deficiency that causes anemia): More than 177,000 births worldwide yearly
There are thousands of different birth defects. The most common are heart defects, cleft lip and palate, Down syndrome and spina bifida. Severe emotional stress during pregnancy may cause abnormalities in unborn children, say researchers. Previous studies have suggested maternal stress during pregnancy – such as job loss, separation, or bereavement – may lead to birth defects such as cleft lip and palate and spina bifida.
The Triple Screen is a blood test capable of determining whether or not your baby may be at risk for birth defects, such as Spina Bifida, or chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down Syndrome (a common form of mental retardation).
What causes birth defects?
- Genetic problems. One or more genes might have a change or mutation that results in them not working properly, such as in Fragile X syndrome.
- Chromosomal problems.
- Exposure to medications, chemicals, or other agents during pregnancy.